The design scheme throughout the property was traditional Victorian. They desired the elegance and rigidity of iron, but realized the brutal elements present at the shore called for different material. The builder had originally installed standard aluminum fence on this sensational property. But the harsh New Jersey shore elements had it corroding in not time.
We recommended a combination of aircraft grade aluminum for structural and marine grade aluminum for decorative elements such as casting and finals. The most practical material for structural railing applications is aluminum alloy 6061 or 6063; 6061 is much more rigid than 6063. When you require details like scrolls, 6063 is much more applicable. For decorative elements such as castings, proper ingredients are key. There are many inexpensive aluminum castings available on today’s market, usually brought in from overseas. They contain cheap fillers, such as copper or zinc, which will have a galvanic reaction to the elements just like that on a car battery terminal.
The correct specification is marine-grade castings 535, which is a magnesium-based aluminum. The downside of this chemistry is that it is cast at a higher temperature and will react to the mold it’s poured into by picking up more gas from the residual atmosphere. This can translate into impurities if not dealt with prior to finishing. The proper protocol is to slow bake at 600ºF for two hours to release trapped gases.
We completely recreated the front gate, fence, pool security fence and stair railing. We used the best practices in all aspects of materials and finish to have this “wrought iron-esque” project looking good for many years to come.